Let's visit Africa through this famous Finnish board game invention
Afrikan tähti ("Star of Africa") is a classic legendary Finnish board game designed in 1949 by Kari Mannerla. It's one of the most popular games found in almost every house in Finland. The game was published in 1951 in Helsinki for the first time. It has been translated into 16 languages and sold over four million copies. This famous game, where the players go across Africa on a treasured journey, has remained one of the most sold board games for more than 60 years in Finland. It's also a hit in the Nordic countries.
Kari Mannerla (1930 – 2006), the creator of the Afrikan Tähti game, was a Finnish board and card game designer and advertising agency executive. He got the inspiration when he read an article about the biggest diamond in the world, the Cullinan Diamond, Star of Africa, discovered in South Africa. Mannerla was then 19 years old and with his solid experience as a game designer, he thought that this was going to be a unique game.
The game was then published two years later and 10,000 copies were printed with the number accelerating every year. Additionally, Mannerla designed Afrikan tähti, a card version, solitaire card games, adventure party games, and the board game Inkan aarre (Treasure of the Inca) published in 2005, a game similar to Afrikan tähti but held in South America instead. Mannerla had a business career in an advertising agency where he retired as the chairman of the board of directors and died at the age of 76.
Afrikan Tähti today
The Afrikan Tähti game is the most famous Finnish board game and still very popular among Finnish people today. The game has sold over two million games in Finland and internationally as well, marketed most especially in Nordic countries. All publishing rights are directly copyrighted to Kari Mannerla's five daughters. Later, the game was made more complicated and developed its first official expansion called Afrikan tähti Retkikunnat ("The expeditions") that was published in 2014.
The importance and reputation of the Afrikan-Tähti-Game have also paved the way to reach the Finnish Museum of Games in the city of Tampere. The museum exhibition consists of 100 Finnish games. In the year 2011, this popular game turned 60 years. Game championships were held in Espoo which resulted in the victory of a 12-year-old.
As described by the Finnish Museum of Games, Afrikan Tähti is a Finnish classic and a game experience that brings generations together.
How to play
The game itself is quite simple, and anyone can play, even those who don't understand Finnish. It's also a great way to discover and know Africa.
Each player will have to find the African star and travel by air, sea, or land, and bring it safely to Cairo or Tangier. On the way, the players might discover diamonds that will earn money, a gangster to rob you, or a horseshoe that will give you the chance to win the game.
Have fun and travel to Africa, and play an enjoyable game together with family and friends.